Caldwell chronograph Edgars
- By Chris Parkin
- 8 Comments
- Last updated: 19/12/2016
When shooters get involved designing a product, they often add subtle features that on the surface aren’t always easily noticed, but become really helpful to serious users and dare I say, sometimes provoke a little smile?
The Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph might look like any other chronograph but it brings together all the items you need in this ‘Premium Kit’ edition, to accurately chronograph any projectile in one box. The first great addition to this kit is a strong dual-zippered cordura travel case with a shoulder strap. It’s partitioned inside to hold the main elements, the Chrono, tripod and sunscreens, which provide the shadow to allow the unit to measure. Also included and usually an optional extra with other makes, is a lighting kit, which Illuminates the screens with I.R. lights, allowing indoor use and it won’t be defeated by flickering A.C-powered ambient lighting!
The Caldwell consists of a central body 38cm long, with optical sensors at each end to detect the shadow of a passing projectile, be it arrow, pellet or bullet. Readings are displayed 5 to 9999 fps with a promised accuracy of +/-0.25%. The dark green unit could be described as bone-shaped, with two swollen ends, so is easy to carry and has ridges along the centre to help grip the otherwise smooth shape; because although lightweight, when you add sky screens, the physical size increases. An underside compartment accepts the 9 volt battery as well as a spare, which is useful; it’s really irritating getting to the range and finding your battery flat. A 3-position switch turns it ON/ OFF and also allows the selection of feet or meters per second.
The sensors are deeply recessed within the body, to prevent them getting dirty with airborne debris from the muzzle blast and the L.C.D. screen at the front is large and easily read from the firing point. Extra wide sunscreens make detection very forgiving and I found the unit easy to align underneath the line of bullet flight, never missing a single reading. The metal rods that hold the sky screens actually clip to the screens when packed, which I found very handy. Simply moulding two little clips into each polymer screen to fasten them on is a practical move!
I first used the chrono on an overcast day with my 177 air rifle and the screens weren’t needed but it’s easy to add them if bright sunlight disturbs your readings. When needed, the steel rods slot into the screens and body of the Chrono to create an arch, 33cm high and 36 wide at the top. Using these makes it slightly easier to see and align the unit anyway but remember to check your barrel axis, not just the line of sight through the scope, the Caldwell isn’t bulletproof. A tripod is supplied that threads into the ¼” UNC camera adaptor underneath the body, which will raise it up to 1.3m from the ground. I’m generally a prone shooter, so happily used it rested on the ground about 5 feet from the muzzle.
The illuminated sky screens are great for indoor use, perhaps with airguns or arrows, where flickering from normal 240 volt mains electric lights confuses timed optical unit like this. You can’t actually see the I.R. light they emit but a red L.E.D. at each end of the screens indicates they are powered up, either from a 4xAA battery holder or Mains supply, although this is a two pin European plug, so needs a 99p adaptor for UK mains electric.
Now when you see iPhone pictures on the box and smartphone functionality, you may assume it runs wirelessly but sadly it doesn’t. A 15 foot 3.5mm audio plug lead connects to your smartphone or tablet if you wish to use more than just the basic velocity readout.
Downloading a free ‘App’ is simple and instructions are supplied to connect your phone in just a few seconds. Smartphone connectivity not only allows velocity readout right next to your rifle but also various other ballistic calculations and the ability to name certain shot strings and save all your data.
When testing multiple ammunition types or differing handloads, this is massively helpful as it negates the need to do any note taking at the firing point. As well as the name, you can specify distance to the chrono from the muzzle, B.C. and bullet weight to calculate exact ‘true muzzle velocity’ in case you are critical of the few fps lost in that first five or so feet. Screen readouts for each string give maximum and minimum velocity, extreme spread, standard deviation and muzzle energy. This and all attached data (including a photograph of your group on target and its precise measurements can all be added after shooting has finished and everything is saved to file on your phone.
For me, as a professional gun tester, this is all invaluable and will save a lot of time and the same can be said for those doing serious long-term load development. Don’t forget, breaking your shooting position to write anything down can be detrimental to technique. I think this product is brilliant and hope to add one to my armoury. Its ease of use in ‘naked’ setup is very accessible and the Smartphone options turn a good Chrono into a great kit! Caldwell is imported/distributed to the trade by Edgar Brothers; my example came from Henry Krank and Co Ltd who retail the chrono.
CONTACT: Edgar Brothers Ltd, 01626 613177(for nearest dealer)
Henry Krank & Co Ltd, 0113 256 9163 (Retailer)